Kenya Premier League Review: Tusker retain diadem, Rangers, Oserian relegated

The 2012 Kenyan Premier League season provided its fair share of thrills, exciting brand of football, controversy, cheers, sackings and tears
The 2012 Kenyan Premier League season provided its fair share of thrills, exciting brand of football, controversy, cheers, sackings and tears.

At the end of it all, defending champions Tusker FC sneaked through on the final day to retain the title.

The brewers looked to have slipped out of the title race midway through the second leg after a spell of poor results that saw them slip to third on the table standings, eight points behind AFC Leopards.

However, what now seems a stroke of intelligence by the management in replacing Sammy Omollo with Robert Matano at the team's dugout did the trick, and the team strolled on thereafter, losing only one match in ten outings en route to winning the championship.

Gor Mahia turned out to be the unluckiest KPL team in 2012.

After a below par start that saw the K’ogalo placed 14th after eight games, a turnaround that saw the firing of Cameroonian tactician Anaba Awono followed by the hiring of the controversial Zdravko Logarusic proved a master stroke.

Only just. The Croatian dismantled and assembled a new outfit in a span of three months, and then transformed the side into a winning machine that survived the entire second leg unscathed.

In this period, fellow title chasers AFC Leopards, Tusker, Ulinzi Stars and Sofapaka suffered at the hands of the 'Logarusic machine'.

However, the team succumbed at the crucial moment, dropping two crucial points on the final day in a duel against 

Thika United, a result that provided the perfect opportunity for Tusker FC.

An expensively assembled AFC Leopards also blew away the campaign after a near perfect start. Jan Koops team ran out of steam in the second leg, failing to recover  after surrendering a 24 match unbeaten run to Tusker, to eventually settle for third place after the final round of games.

Financially struck Sofapaka FC, and an inconsistent Ulinzi Stars flattered to deceive, and paid the heavy price for constantly juggling the technical bench, before eventually settling for fourth and sixth place respectively.

Youthful Thika United, Chemelil Sugar and Mathare United completed the top eight positions - to qualify for the lucrative 2013 Top Eight tournament.

Perennial survivors City Stars and newly promoted Muhoroni Youth survived the chop, but former champions Oserian and a spineless Rangers FC were relegated to the nationwide league.

Gor Mahia's Rama Salim and Dan Sserunkuma registered the most improved performance in the league.

The season also registered a magnificent financial boost, as giant alcohol manufacturer Tusker and multinational sporting wear PUMA injected funds and equipment worth hundreds of millions of shillings  into the league as sponsorship.